A Travellerspoint blog

The biggest history lesson ever!

Yesterday we had a fairly substantial art lesson. Today was mostly a history lesson. We are exhausted again after another big day in Rome.
Started of a bit later than I would have liked coz I needed to get a bit of washing out of the way. Anyway we jumped on the bus and headed to the Trevi fountain, only to be extremely disappointed when we finally got there. It was empty. Apparently it is closed for the next 12 months for major renos.
Feeling a little disappointed we wandered across to the Pantheon.
The Roman Pantheon is the most preserved and influential building of ancient Rome. It is a Roman temple dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome. It has a very large dome with an obelisk in the top. The columns outside are also impressive.
IMG_0210.jpg 90_IMG_0211.jpg
Then we found some lunch ready for our tour of the Colosseum and the Palatine hill and Roman forum. The Colosseum or Flavian amphitheatre was basically built to keep the masses in Rome entertained and happy. Everyone was offered free entertainment. Much of what is depicted of the Colosseum in the film Gladiator is true. It was a really interesting tour and we learned many things about life in Rome during the 500 years in which it was used.
In the photo above you can see the three layers of archways.
What was even more interesting was the way it was plundered over the years and a lot of the reason it is ruins today has to do with the fact that the stone was used to build other famous structures in Rome and the bronze pins that held the travertine stones together like a giant Lego set were stolen. The Catholic Church rescued it in the 18th century and it didn't actually become a museum till the 90s. That is the 1990's! At the moment they are cleaning it and you can clearly see the difference. The sheer height and size as well as the modern conveniences it had in its day such as shade sails, toilets and running water all impressed us.
the excavated under floor showing the recreated timber floor. There were 88 lifts with trapdoors up to the stage where things like lions could just pop up.

Ancient graffiti
Unfortunately the weather has been most unimpressive and we were caught in a massive storm again at the beginning of the tour :(
By the time we needed to head outside it had slowed down. Palatine Hill is one of the highest points in Rome. It was home to the emperors and as you can see has a wonderful view. Most of what is left is brickwork, the marble has been plundered over the years I suppose, and a lot has been covered over with new buildings built over the top. The guide likened it to a giant lasagne :) this area also clearly showed the aqua ducts which carried water all through Rome and made the settlement one of the wealthiest and well developed. IMG_0221.jpg
Just keep walking Dylan!
the above pic shows a church built within the ruins, notice the height of the door, this was floor level before the excavations. Also evidence that the beautiful columns had been (unsuccessfully) attempted to be removed
The last part was the forum. This is basically the old city centre around the time of Julius Caesar. It has lots of impressive marble columns and arches, some quite well preserved. One positive of all the rain was that some of the mosaics that once were floors had been washed off and exposed. The guide noticed parts that were not normally so clearly displayed. The colours were magnificent considering how long they had been there.
After 3 hours of explanations and up and down a million steps over uneven ground we were done and we headed off for the bus and home feeling much more knowledgable! Once again we used Walks of Italy and only had 8 in our group.
Tomorrow we head out of Rome to pick up a car and drive down to Pompeii.

Posted by The Hitchies 07:50

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Sounds like it is all going perfectly, like Claire I was looking for the news yesterday.

by Gerry Royal

I know how hard it is to do all this blog stuff after full days on tour BUT I also know much you will look back on these fab bits of narrative in the future and relive your great adventure. I love reading about this trip of a lifetime guys and the pics are letting us share your journey each day. Love it!!! Stay safe. xoxoxox

by reecy

Do you know what is good about coming to work each morning? Reading the news about your adventures. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to 'tag along'. Best wishes.

by Cheryl J

I almost expected you to say how small the Trevi Fountain is in reality when compared to the expectation built up from watching so many old movies. We were surprised it was so compact, tucked away in the corner of a fairly nondescript back street. It's a shame you missed the whistle-blowing police warning people from getting too close. I hope you tossed a coin in all the same!

by pcpmq

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